(Philadelphia, PA) -- A new Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, to be led by nationally-recognized colon/rectal specialist Robert D. Fry, MD, has been created within the Department of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

"This important subspecialty addition will further enhance the level of care we provide to patients, and increase our strength as a recognized national leader in comprehensive surgical care," said Larry R. Kaiser, MD, the John Rhea Barton Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at Penn, in announcing the formation and staffing of the new division.

Dr. Robert Fry, who joined Penn earlier this month as Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, will be joined in his new division by surgeons John L. Rombeau, MD; Howard M. Ross, MD; and Najjia N. Mahmoud, MD. Complementing the surgical team will be a professional support staff consisting of a clinical nurse, Sara Gray, RN, and a genetics counselor, Gretchen Matika, MS, CGC.

It is estimated that Penn's Colon and Rectal Surgery division will serve at least 300 additional patients each year at the Health System's two West Philadelphia based hospitals -- the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and Presbyterian Medical Center. One of every 18 people in the United States will develop colorectal cancer in his or her lifetime. Indeed, colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in North America -- after lung and breast cancer in women, and lung and prostate cancer in men.

Penn's new division will also provide an umbrella of services for colon and rectal conditions other than cancer, including colonoscopies and surgical procedures for inflammatory bowel disease, diverticulitis and anorectal pathology.

Dr. Robert Fry comes to Penn from Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where he served as the Marks Professor and Chief of the Section of Colon and Rectal Surgery. He served as President of the prestigious American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons during 2001, and currently serves as Director of the American Baord of Colon and Rectal Surgery. He recnetly completed a term as a Director of the American Board of Surgery. He served for five years on the Residency Review Committee for Colon and Rectal Surgery, including a term as Vice Chair.

Dr. John L. Rombeau has been Professor of Surgery at Penn since 1994. He is a member of numerous professional societies and served as President of the International Association for Surgical Metabolism and Nutrition from 1997 to 1999. He is an Examination Consultant for the American Board of Surgery; a Fellow of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgery, and Chair of the Gross Prize Committee of the Philadelphia Academy of Surgery.

Dr. Howard Ross is Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery and member of the Core Faculty for the Laparoscopic Surgery Fellowship at Penn. He is a member of Penn's Committee on Graduate Medical Education and is program director of Surgery Preliminary Residency at Presbyterian Medical Center.

Dr. Najjia Mahmoud is a former Assistant Professor of Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. Prior to that, she served as Senior Clinical Associate in Surgery at New York Presbyterian Hospital and as Administrative Chief Fellow in Colorectal Surgery at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, MN, where she was named Carl E. Christianson Outstanding Resident Scholar.

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Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $7.8 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report’s survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $405 million awarded in the 2017 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center — which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report — Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, a leading provider of highly skilled and compassionate behavioral healthcare.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2017, Penn Medicine provided $500 million to benefit our community.

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